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Roughing It

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Title: Roughing It  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Mark Twain, Mark Twain bibliography, Virginia City, Nevada, Victoria Kamāmalu, ʻAi Noa
Collection: 1872 Books, American Old West, Books by Mark Twain, Portrayals of Mormons in Popular Media, Travel Books
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Roughing It

Roughing It
Title page from first edition
Author Mark Twain
Country United States
Language English
Genre Travel literature
Publisher American Publishing Company
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 607
Preceded by The Innocents Abroad (1869)
Followed by The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today (1873)

Roughing It is a book of semi-autobiographical travel literature written by American humorist Mark Twain. It was written during 1870–71 and published in 1872 as a prequel to his first book The Innocents Abroad (1869). This book tells of Twain's adventures prior to his pleasure cruise related in Innocents Abroad.

Roughing It follows the travels of young Mark Twain through the Wild West during the years 1861–1867. After a brief stint as a Confederate cavalry militiaman (not included in the account), he joined his brother Orion Clemens, who had been appointed Secretary of the Nevada Territory, on a stagecoach journey west. Twain consulted his brother's diary to refresh his memory and borrowed heavily from his active imagination for many stories in the book.

Roughing It illustrates many of Twain's early adventures, including a visit to Salt Lake City, gold and silver prospecting, real-estate speculation, a journey to the Kingdom of Hawaii, and his beginnings as a writer.

In this memoir, readers can see examples of Twain's rough-hewn humor, which would become a staple of his writing in his later books, such as Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer(1876), and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889).

In popular culture

U.S. astronauts Frank Borman and Jim Lovell read Roughing It aloud to pass the time aboard NASA's Gemini VII, a 14-day-long Earth orbital mission in December 1965. Borman recalls reading the book during an on-camera interview in the PBS-TV (USA) television program Nova: To the Moon (1999).


  1. ^ Facsimile of the original 1st edition.

External links

  • Roughing It at Project Gutenberg
  • Roughing It public domain audiobook at LibriVox
  • Roughing It, University of California Press, 2003.
  • Roughing It, text plus additional background material.
  • 3 short radio episodes from Roughing It from California Legacy Project.
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